Do new drugs reduce medical costs?

Maybe, maybe not.

Now, go away and do the analysis again looking at costs 17 years after the introduction of the new drugs, after the patents have run out.

I very strongly suspect that you\’ll get a very strong answer that yes, new drugs do reduce medical costs, but only after the mechanism we have in place to encourage the discovery of those drugs has been paid for.

Whether patents are the best way to encourage such discovery is a very different matter….but to analyse the industry without acknowledging that costs drop dramatically (actually, not 17 years, but more like 10 years after introduction of the new drugs into treatment protocols) seems a little odd to say the least.

2 comments on “Do new drugs reduce medical costs?

  1. I reckon any such analysis should take into account total duration of life in calculating cost-benefit. The case for this is not dissimilar to car maintenance and servicing, and that of more expensive cars versus less expensive car of similar size/performance/fittings.

    Even more difficult, such an analysis should take account of quality of life, as well as duration of life.

    Do the various analyses of medical drug cost-benefit take account of these things?

    [Note aside. Without medical drugs it is difficult to conceive we would have the life expectancy and quality of life that we do have today, using just alternative medical procedures such as surgery. Consider the possibilities of health-care without antibiotics (starting with penicillin), even antiseptics (eg alcohol, iodine and phenol). Then move on to vaccinations: for smallpox, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, etc. Currently malaria is a big killer, but medication does much to improve outcomes. Then consider heart disease and strokes, and treatment without various blood-thinning drugs. Finally move on to chemotherapy for cancer, with and without surgery and/or radiation treatment.]

    Best regards

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